Bhāskara II / BAS-ka-ruh /
Mathematics Ranking 20th of 46
Bhāskara II wrote the first work with full and systematic use of the decimal number system.(1) He was the lineal successor of Brahmagupta as head of an astronomical observatory at Ujjain, the leading mathematical center of ancient India. He wrote Lilavata and the Vija-Ganita, on arithmetic and algebra, respectively. Bhāskara filled some of the gaps in Brahmagupta’s work, as by giving a general solution of the Pell equation and by considering the problem of division by zero. Bhāskara II was the last significant medieval mathematician from India, and his work represents the culmination of earlier Hindu contributions.(2) In the Lilavata, his best-known treatise, he compiled problems from Brahmagupta and others, adding new observations of his own. The Lilavata, like the Vija-Ganita, contains numerous problems dealing with favorite Hindu topics: linear and quadratic equations, both determinate and indeterminate, simple mensuration (measuring), arithmetic and geometric progressions, surds (irrational numbers), Pythagorean triads, and others.
(1) Encyclopaedia Britannica, Micropaedia, Volume 2, 1993, 15th Edition, p. 186.
(2) Ibid., p. 186.